Questions to ask before marketing your business


Share on LinkedIn

Before you can successfully market a business, there are several questions that must be asked. Most customers are completely overwhelmed by marketing and advertising these days. To make sure that you don’t disappear in the background noise of their digital world, your business’s marketing must be targeted, focused, and directed.

To make this happen, there are several key questions you should know the answers to before you begin to plan out your marketing, whether you plan to handle it in house or outsourced.

Who is your customer?
Before you can begin to design a marketing plan, you need to know who you’re marketing to. You will market differently to a woman in her 70s who is shopping for her grandchildren than you will to a 20 something man just out of college. Economics, education level, location, age, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnic background are just a few of the factors that may play into determining who your customer is.

Once you know who your customer is, you can begin to think about what is important to them, what problems they have, and how those problems can be solved.

What are their pain points?
In terms of marketing, a customer’s “pain point” is the problem, real or perceived, that they need to solve. Entrepreneurs and businesses present solutions to these pain points with their products. Both B2B and B2C companies need to be able to address pain point in meaningful ways.

For example, a single woman with disposable income who is moving to a new city for the first time might be frustrated by how long It’s going to take her to pack up her apartment, and be nervous about moving into a new apartment in a new city, where she doesn’t know anyone. By hiring a reliable moving company, she eliminates her concerns about driving a big truck through an unknown city, and makes sure that all she has to do is unpack her new apartment.

Once you know your customer’s identity, and what problems they face, you can tell them how your product or service solves those problems.

How do they get information?
Ten years ago, email lists were a great way to get specialized information to customers. Five years ago, Facebook Pages were the most relevant and up-to-the-minute way to communicate with customers. Now, companies that are able to utilize mobile apps combined with excellent incentives and reward programs are seeing strong benefits with their customers. But if your target customer is an older person, they might not have a cell phone, or if they do, they may not have invested in a smartphone. Developing a mobile app might be useless in that case.

The best way to find out how to communicate with your customers is to ask them what they prefer. Their answers might surprise you.

What is your story?
Once you’ve determined who you’re communicating to, and how you’re going to relate that information to them, you need to identify what you’re going to tell them. What is the story of your brand? Are you a little company that’s going to use a highly specialized solution to fix a very particular problem, or are you a more widespread vendor looking to serve a number of different needs without necessarily concerning yourself about the depth of your solutions? Do you want to position yourself as small and familiar, posting pictures of ‘behind the scenes’ moments in the office, and sharing stories about your employees as if they were family? Or are you opting for a more high level approach, focusing more strictly on the customer and what you can offer them?

Both of these approaches can be valuable, and to determine which one will work best for your business, you need to know your story, know how to sell it, and know who your customer is. After all, all the best stories are catered to their audience.

How are you different?
As part of telling potential customers your story, you need to tell them how you’re different. They need to know what you can offer that no one else can. There is no unique business entering the marketplace now, and every business needs to know how to differentiate from the businesses that came before. Be careful with this; talking about how awful all the other businesses are can backfire. Focus on what you do well, and let that drive your success.

Creating a marketing plan is an intense, driven process, but it can be done well. By creating a targeting marketing plan, you can make sure that your business gets the attention and buzz that it needs to survive.

What other tips would you offer? Tell us in the comments!

Margarita Hakobyan
CEO and founder of, an online marketplace of local moving companies and storage facilities. Business women, wife and mother of two with bachelor's degree from the University of Utah with a concentration in International Studies and a Masters Degree also from the University of Utah with a degree in International business.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here